How To Guide for HMO start up
ICOL Property Maintenance Ltd guide How To Get - HMO Property Ready For Renting
Step One – Basic HMO Requirements
The first thing that you will probably need to do, once you have identified that potential property is to contact your local authority and find out if you will need an HMO licence. There are three main licenses that cold be issued, so before you think about moving forward with any plans contact your local authority and ask about
· Mandatory HMO licensing
· Additional licensing
· Selective licensing
If you do require a license then the next step you need to take is to work with your local authority to find out exactly what you need to do in order to be granted one. In very generally terms you’ll need to ensure you meet safely regulations (having a Gas and Electrical safety check carried out, installing fire proof doors, creating a Fire Risk Assessment conducted by a suitably qualified professional, ect). Now, being issued a licence doesn’t mean that your in the clear to start renting out the property and you may have to meet additional legal obligations – the licence is just one aspect of your duties – so ensure you familiarise and comply with the other HMO requirements and regulations relevant to you.
Step 2 – Renovating the Property
As a new property investor, your decisions will be based on your own personal experience. The cost of basic jobs like redecorating a property, carrying out repairs, making changes and alterations will all be driven by what you have been charged in the past on domestic properties. However when it comes to HMO’s there are a few companies like ours that offer a much more cost effective solution to these issues by providing a multi trade service – saving you time by avoiding the headaches of multiple appointments to multiple trades people and saving you money by providing a set fee for maintenance services.
Here are a few of the most common jobs that we regularly undertake prior to any property going on the market as an HMO.
> Make sure that the internal décor of the entire property is acceptable for tenants,
> Repairing or replacing kitchen cabinets,
> Cleaning and resealing all bathroom fittings,
> Installing emergency lighting in common area’s,
> Replacing broken electrical fittings,
> Repairing flooring and refitting loose carpets,
> Fitting new internal door locks and intumescent strips to doors,
> Installing notice boards,
> Installing handrails,
> Repairing windows and locks
Once you think that all of the major works have been completed the next task will be to make sure that each room has been furnished with all the items HMO tenants generally expect. Single or double beds, wardrobes, chest of drawers are the obvious items that will be on top of anyone’s list, and with your Interior Design services you can also consider adding some finishing touches which can make a world of difference. Believe me when I say they don’t go unnoticed. Tenants want to feel like they are living in a home, not a sterile space, so putting up pictures and mirrors in communal areas doesn’t only provide décor and colour, but it can also lighten up the place, which is useful in gloomy hallways and landings.
STEP 3 – Additional Extra’s
One of the most common ‘MUST HAVE’ items for all tenants in this day and age is high-speed wireless broadband. This has to be reliable and that can support all of tenants that could be house sharing at any one time. So having this installed by a reputable provided can give you an edge over other HMS’s.
It seems like an obvious one this, but having enough keys cut for each tenant should also be on your list; you should provide each tenant with a front door key and a key for their own room. On top of this you should also ensure you have a spare sets of keys for yourself.
Think ahead of the game you can also fit a key safe to the front of the property with a spare front door key. This is extremely handy for when the tenants lock themselves out, but also allows any service provider access to the communal parts of the house where your electrical or gas supply will be.
One item that you cannot overlook a notice board located in a communal area which displays the following information:
> Emergency contact names and numbers
> Fire escape information
> Health and safety information (e.g. a copy of the gas safety certificate)
> The landlord’s/property manager’s information
> Garbage and recycling collection timetable.
Step 4 – Curb Appeal
Having spent all of your time and energy dealing with the internal parts of the property to give it the WOW factor that you want it to have, don’t forget that every tenants first impression will be when they arrive at the front gate. Having the front and rear gardens tided and cleaned, walls and steps repaired, the front door and windows cleaned and repainted will show everyone that you care about the property. A further step could be to add in some small plants in pots – although this could then turn into a chore as they will need to be looked after.
In the rear gardens an small patio table and chairs can be added for the tenants, along with a couple of washing lines. Another extra that could be provided is a cigarette waste bin (no one wants to see cigarette butts all over the floor)
Step 5 – Final Checks
Now that your property is up and ready for your first tenant, it’s time to have one last look at all your documents to make sure that they reflect the terms and conditions you wish to impose, including HMO tenancy agreements, guarantor forms, and inventory forms. It’s best to have your documents prepared from the offset, even before the process of finding tenants begin. If you’re using an agent to manage your HMO, they should have all the paperwork in order.
Another thing to arrange is a reliable cleaning company that can come in on a regular basis – preferably before you start taking viewings, but almost certainly before tenants start to move in. Many landlords use professional tenancy cleaning services to get the job done and you should have a schedule of regular cleaning service for the communal areas once the property is habituated. Leaving the tenants with the responsibility to keep the communal areas clean is usually a regrettable decision. No tenant wants to clean up after a housemate.
Wow, so thats a lot to think about, but don't worry, we are here to hep !!!
ICOL Property Maintenance Ltd has been involved with Rental Property refurbishments for many years now and can give you as much help advices and support as you need to get your project up and running.
Contact us today to find out more